Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sarah Palin's Speechwriting Fail

Ezra Klein of The Washington Post thinks that Sarah Palin wrote her bizarre, rambling holiday weekend resignation speech herself and I'm tending to agree with him:

The main thing I'd point out about Sarah Palin's dazzlingly incoherent farewell is that it's pretty clear she wrote it herself. The proof is in the punctuation. The transcript was posted to her official Web site earlier today. The style is closer to a high schooler's angry diary entry than to an official speech. I've read a lot of speech transcripts. They tend to have fewer words in all capital letters. And fewer things in quotation marks that aren't actually, you know, quotes. And I've never seen an official speech transcript, written by an actual speechwriter, that contains this:
*((Gotta put First Things First))*

And that's not even getting into the self-pitying shots at the press, the fact that she mocked those who take "the quitter's way out" in a speech dedicated to quitting, or this agonizing sports metaphor:

A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket… and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can WIN. And I’m doing that – keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities – smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it’s time to pass the ball – for victory.

All of which suggests that today's speech wasn't the carefully vetted product of the team quietly masterminding her presidential run (What's the difference between a pitbull going for a walk and Sarah Palin? The pitbull has a plan.) I don't know if Palin is leaving office to preempt a coming scandal or simply because she's finished with the job. But this looks like the impulsive decision of an impulsive politician. It doesn't exactly scream president-in-waiting.

Eighteen exclamation points. Does this remind you of any other equally bizarre and rambling prose we've seen recently? But this line, more than any other, is my favorite:
In the words of General MacArthur said, "We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction."
Even excusing the incorrect grammar, the best part is that MacArthur never even said that quote. It was Marine General Oliver P. Smith. You've gotta love this woman.

[Update: Reader and frequent commenter ex DLB posts an actual MacArthur quote:
Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.
Douglas MacArthur
While I can't make any definitive claims as to the smoothness of her supposed soul I can say this without any doubt: Quitting makes you a quitter. I'm sure of it.]

[Update II: Tangentially related, Andrew Sullivan has compiled a complete listing of "The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin" (there are 32 as of this posting) with verifiable links for each. The term "pathological" seems to me a more apt description of the woman and her inability to tell the truth at this point but I only get a hundred or so hits a day on my little blog, so what the hell do I know?]


cracker said...

Hey JB!

How ya doin, hope alls well.

A friend tasked me with finding all the non-sequitur sentences in her speech.

eighteen, I think.....then i walked the goldfish....

JBW said...

Evrything's great cracker, thanks. And yes, the lady does indeed know how to turn a phrase.